Roland’s HP series has for many years been a key go-to for folks looking for a good quality home digital piano that looks like a real piano and incorporates cutting-edge technology, without breaking the bank.
The first HP models, the HP-300 and HP-400, were originally released all the way back in 1983 and were the very first digital piano to feature MIDI connectivity! These were also the first digital pianos to feature a two-piece cabinet design (main body resting on stand), a design style used to this day by every major digital piano manufacturer. Fast forward to 2019, Roland released the newest incarnation to this fabled line in the form of the HP700 series, consisting of the HP702 and HP704.
The HP702 is particularly unique in how it’s positioned within Roland’s lineup. Its price point and the presence of the PHA4 action could lead one to believe the HP702 occupies a place in the lower half of Roland’s lineup, whereas the robust cabinet, Bluetooth Audio, and fully modeled sound engine capable of limitless polyphony on the piano tone point to this being a top tier model. What we end up with is a true middle-of-the-lineup offering from Roland, loaded with a high-end sound engine and features, with a professional if not premium piano action, available at a surprisingly affordable price point.
The HP702 features Roland’s PHA-4 Ivory-touch action with escapement. This is a high-quality piano action found in most Roland pianos up to about $3,000 CAD, including the FP10 through FP60, the RP series, and the F140r.
The PHA4 has a very well executed ‘faux’ ivory keytop feel and ebony feel on the black keys, a believable escapement simulation, and rugged physical construction that doesn’t give off unreasonable mechanical sounds or ‘clunks’.
Although it doesn’t list it in all literature, the PHA-4 is a triple sensor action, meaning that the midi output from the HP702 is ‘studio-grade’, making it a great home-production companion as well.
The really stunning feature the HP702 offers, especially when considering the price point, is the SuperNATURAL piano modeling engine with limitless polyphony when in “Piano Mode”. This is high-end technology not offered by the majority of digital pianos, and the HP702 is the only home digital piano in Roland’s lineup under $3,000 CAD to feature it. The SuperNATURAL engine provides players with incredibly realistic sound, and a huge level of detail and editing options. Roland has done a nice job of giving two distinct levels of control, one very basic and obvious with physical controls on the front of the instrument, while the next level of control requires deep menu editing and/or tablet connectivity.
There are 324 total onboard sounds here, including a variety of electric pianos and synths, with a whopping 384 notes of polyphony on all non-piano tones. The quality of the non-piano tones are definitely high enough for professional applications should you wish for your HP702 to double as a studio or production instrument. The HP702 also features the Headphones 3D Ambience technology, which enhances the experience when playing with headphones.
In terms of the speakers, the HP702 has a fairly simple but effective dual speaker system with a total of 28 watts of output power. If there was an obvious criticism of the HP702 it would be that the amps aren’t more powerful, but given that there is a line out, should you want to use the HP702 for something other than home use requiring more power, connecting to an amp is no problem.
Roland covered all of the basics, plus a bit more when it comes to connectivity here. For starters, the HP702 has a DC in jack, stereo mini input jack, ¼” L/MONO, R output jacks. The output jack is particularly useful if you’re considering this instrument for a performance venue or place of worship.
There’s also USB A and B, and two headphone jacks, along with both Bluetooth MIDI and Bluetooth Audio. While Bluetooth MIDI is a staple throughout the Roland lineup, the HP702 has the distinction of being the least expensive Roland home digital pianos to offer Bluetooth Audio. Bluetooth Audio is a super cool feature that effectively turns your instrument into a large Bluetooth speaker as you can stream music from your smartphone or tablet with ease.
While the temptation would be to highlight the sound engine here once again, since we’ve already harped on that so much we’ll instead draw special attention to the cabinet. This is a seriously slick looking cabinet that does a great job of capturing the essence of a true acoustic piano cabinet. Again, considering the price (common theme here), this is a huge plus.
- Piano Sound: SuperNATURAL Piano Modeling
- PHA-4 Standard Keyboard: with Escapement and Ivory Feel (88 keys)
- Progressive Damper Action Pedal (Damper pedal: capable of continuous detection, Soft pedal: capable of continuous detection/function assignable, Sostenuto pedal: function assignable)
- Piano Designer Function
- Piano Every Day Compatible
- Easy Piano: 10 songs (US only)
- Do Re Mi Lesson: 30 songs
- Audio File (WAV: 44.1 kHz, 16-bit linear format, MP3: 44.1 kHz, 64 kbps – 320 kbps, requires USB Flash Memory)
- Standard MIDI Files (Format 0, 3 parts, Approx. 70,000 notes memory)
- Audio: Bluetooth Ver 3.0 (Supports SCMS-T content protection)
- MIDI: Bluetooth Ver 4.0
- Metronome (adjustable Tempo/Beat/Down beat/Pattern/Volume/Tone)
- Graphic OLED 128 x 32 dots
All in all, the HP702 is a very interesting option from Roland. If sound quality and all the latest technology is your primary concern, the HP702 makes a strong case for being one of the best home digital piano options on the market for under $3,000 CAD.
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